Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Google For Educators" Needs Classroom Success Stories

The Google for Educators site, which launched today, attempts to help teachers visualize how they can use Google apps like Book Search, Google Maps, Google Video, Blogger, SketchUp and more in educational contexts. The basic applications of these tools are obvious, and so far, this site appears to be simply a placeholder and a hub to funnel user searches for educational web applications so they can hear the Google pitch.

These tools all have much more interesting "real-world" stories that can already be told, and it looks like Google is seeking out good classroom stories to flesh out the site. It's odd to see such an innovative company so consistently creates PR that is so static - Why not allow teachers to contribute and discuss applications on the site rather than simply invite them to email Google HQ? - and so provisional - How hard would it have been, and how much more immediate impact would this site have, if the Google team had pulled together a few solid case studies prior to launching the site, and presented profile pieces that will help inspire teachers and show that this stuff is being used? If Government Technology can do it with educational gaming, for goodness' sakes, why can't a $10B company - whoops, make that a $8.35B company - do the same in order to tell a very big story to an essential audience for its products?

Enough criticism. All the big things Google does so right make up for all the little things they do so badly. What matters here is that if you teach using Google's products, you can get a little publicity for your school and do Google a favor in the process by sharing your story with them via the Google for Educators website.

Extra: The Google lawyers are on the prowl. Logogle, which as recently as two days ago was spitting out mock Google logos with the text of your choice, has been shut down.

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